Smith Wigglesworth- Ultimate Documentary
Discover great insight from the life and ministry of Smith Wigglesworth. In addition, the video contains an interview with Roberts Liardon
Born June 8th, 1895
Died March 12th, 1947
“The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the death of the seed. The Holy Spirit wakes up every passion, permits every trial. His object is to make the vessel pure. All must die before a manifestation of God unthought of, undreamed of. It’s a call to martyrdom, to the death of spirit, soul and body. To the death. The choice is before you, decide, accept, the path of death to life. Absolute abandonment for a divine equipment for the early and latter rain appears.”1
Smith Wigglesworth was born in Menston, Yorkshire in England on June 8th, 1859. He was born to John and Martha Wigglesworth. It was in 1859, the Second Great Awakening was sweeping Britain, and the Third in America. Smith’s parents were not Christians at the time. However, the Lord was moving mightily with great “joy” throughout Britain. The years prior had been difficult ones for Britain, so this truly was a time of great refreshment from heaven. Some of the great evangelists used during this time included, Christmas Evans (Wales). William Booth, and many more. A revival that started in Ulster, Northern Ireland by a man called James McQuilkin, provoked believers to begin praying. McQuilkin had been greatly inspired by George Muller and what was happening in America. So, the spiritual climate at the time of Smith’s birth was powerful. However, soon the nation would backslide again. But the Lord had several key people born during this year that would play a major role in future revivals, including the Welsh Revival in 1905. The Lord was orchestrating a power plan.2 As we look at great revivals and awakenings we often see that during one, we see those who will lead and be part of the next one born. We see that several of the leaders who played a key role for example in the Welsh revival of 1905, were born in 1859 as well.
Smith was born to a poor family, and his father was forced to take menial jobs to make money simply to put food on the table. In fact, Smith began working when he was six, digging up turnips.
Although Smith was not raised by Christian parents he said, “I can never recollect a time when I did not long for God. Even though neither father nor mother knew God, I was always seeking Him. I would often kneel down in a field and ask Him to help me.”3
His grandmother was an old-fashioned Wesleyan Methodist and would take Smith to the meetings she attended.4 Never under estimate the power of prayer for family members. God has a way of reaching your family and it may not be how you think. Here the Lord used a praying grandmother and a grandson. The Lord was faithful to that praying grandmother who was persistent in believing and doing. Faith always demands action. She kept brining him to the revival meetings and trusting the Lord to reach Smith. The Lord did exactly that and then began to reach the family. When Smith was eight he attended a revival service. As the members sang…
“Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb,
The Lamb of Calvery,
The Lamb that was slain,
That liveth again
To Intercede for me,”5
Smith got a revelation of what Jesus had done for him and was born again. Smith from that day got a revelation that we were called to only “believe.” A message he preached for the rest of his life. He also never forgot the message of the blood and what Jesus did on the Cross. This generation as lost the revelation of the blood. Yet as we see in Hebrews, without blood there is no access (Hebrews 9: 7) and that blood speaks louder (Hebrews 12: 24) than our sin, our failings, our past, our sickness, etc.) The blood must speaker louder to us. We must hear the message of the blood as Smith did during this revival meeting. Smith immediately became a soul winner and the first person he led to the Lord was his mother. 6 If you get a revelation of the blood and price paid it compels you to tell others. We are all called to do the work of an evangelist and we should if we appreciate the blood and price paid.
When he was nine years old he began working in the mill with his father. They began attending the Episcopal church where his father like the parson, because they drank at the same pub. Smith and his mother joined the choir. Around the age of ten he baptized by the bishop. He immediately became conscious of God’s presence and while the other boys swore and quarreled, Smith was changed and wondered why he was different. 7 When we truly have an encounter with the Lord and we receive Him as Lord and Savior, we should be different. We should no longer fit into the world, because we don’t belong to the world. We may be in it, but we are not of it (John 17: 16). The world will recognize that you don’t belong (John 17: 14). The more you chase after Jesus the more you will become like Him and less like the world. As a result, the more you challenge the world and they will hate you for it.
When he was thirteen, his family move to Bradford where he began attending a Wesleyan Methodist church. The church was having a missionary event where seven boys were chosen to speak. Smith was chosen and had three weeks to prepare for a fifteen-minute message. So, for the three weeks he lived in prayer. When he got up to speak he became possessed with a might zeal. He was consumed to see people know Jesus as their Savior. 8 We may not always see how the Lord is directing our paths, but in hind sight as we follow Smith the Lord was directing his paths. The Lord was taking this nobody in the eyes of the world and making him a somebody for Him. We must never despise the days of the small beginnings, when the Lord is working on us to produce the character for the call (Zechariah 4: 10). Too many, refuse to submit to the discipline and training of the Lord and those unresolved areas became the entry points for the enemy in the future. We are imperfect human vessels that need to learn to submit and walk the path of obedience. The call is to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9: 23).
At the age of sixteen the Salvation Army opened a local church and Smith loved to be with them. The reason Smith felt comfortable around them was they flowed at that time in a similar spirit. They shared his passion for souls and in this season of his walk they could equip him to be more effective in soul winning. We can’t truly walk together unless we agree (Amos 3: 3). Too often, we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obedience comes at a cost. If we are to be used in the coming revival we must learn obedience and learning obedience means you will be tested. Too often, we stay at a church because of soul ties or it meets a social or religious need. It is not about the purpose of heaven.
“It was laid very deeply upon me to fast and pray for the salvation of souls in those days, and every week we saw scores of sinners yielding their hearts to Christ.”9 At the same time a man who belonged to the Plymouth Brethren who worked at the mill, taught Smith about the second coming. He also taught him about being baptized in water. The man told Smith, ‘If you will obey the Lord in this, He may have something great for you.”10 So, Smith got water baptized. However, Smith during this time was always concerned he was falling short and was terrified of missing the Lord’s return. 11
Smith remained with the Salvation Army because he saw they had more spiritual power. They would hold all night prayer meetings. People would lie prostrate on the ground under the power of the Spirit for hours. They would agree in prayer and “claim in faith fifty or a hundred souls every week and know that we would get them. “Alas today many are not laying themselves out for soul winning but for fleshy manifestations.”12
At the age of eighteen (1877) Smith went to a plumber and asked for a job. Initially the man turned Smith down, but sensing something different about Smith decided not to let Smith go. 13 However, Smith proved to efficient for the man and he could not retain him, so when Smith twenty he moved to Liverpool. 14 Here he had a great desire to work with the children He would gather around him scores of little children who were barefooted and ragged. He would take all he earned to feed the children. 15
Must people look at Smith and see the rough man, who said what he meant and never apologized. But, if you looked closer you see a man who loved people. Even from his earliest days where he had a great love of birds, to his early ministry days of taking his earnings to feed the poor children. These early years built in Smith a strong work ethic and integrity. Smith also learned the power of prayer and fasting. Today, we think a quick five-minute prayer will work. We have lost the art and importance of seeking heaven.
“Behind Wigglesworth’s rough exterior was an extraordinary compassion. Everything he said was 100% true. Any promise he made, he fulfilled without fail. If he had the slightest doubt of being able to fulfill a promise, he preferred not to make it.”16
Smith said of his early days in Liverpool…
“A friend of mine and I devoted ourselves to visiting the hospitals and also the ships. God gave me a great heart for the poor. I used to work hard and spend all I had on the poor and have nothing for myself. I fasted all day every Sunday and prayed, and I never remember seeing less than fifty souls saved by the power of God in the meetings with children, in the hospitals, on the ships, and in the Salvation Army.”17
The Help Mate
Smith returned to Bradford.
Smith said regarding his wife, “All that I am today I own under God, to my precious wife. Oh, she was lovely!”18 Mary Jane Featherstone, came from a prominent Methodist family. Her father was part of the temperance group and even when he received a large inheritance that came from the liquor industry he refused it. His daughter had the same strong righteous principles. 19 Mary Jane, or as she was knew her, Polly, ran away from home when she was seventeen. She sought a new life in Bradford.20 Here she accepted service with a large family. One night she heard the sound of trumpets, and drums. It was an outside service where Gipsy Tillie Smith, the sister of Gipsy Rodney Smith, was preaching. Gipsey preached with great power Christ. Curious Polly was drawn to the meeting and as she listened she sought to know the cleansing power of the blood and so made her way to the front. Here Tillie led her to the Lord. As Polly got the revelation of being totally forgiven she jumped up sand shouted, ‘Hallelujah, it is done!”21 Smith was in the audience and saw Polly. Polly was consumed in the Lord and grew fast in the Lord. She developed a relationship with Tillie Smith and her brother Rodney which lead her to meet William Booth.22
Smith who had such a passion for souls threw himself wholehearted into the Salvation Army. However, Smith never became a member of the church. Meanwhile, he was attracted to Polly. Soon, the Army recognized that the two were become closer and based on the rules of the Salvation Army, an office, which Polly was, could not associate with a lower ranked, soldier like Smith. 23
Polly was invited by a major to come to Leith in Scotland to help a new work up there. Polly agreed and went to Scotland. 24 Here, Polly discovered the persecution that the Salvation Army endured, including rotten food being thrown at them. Polly would get a black eye. Polly learned to be unmoved by persecution. Polly took special interest in a new convert who lived on the sixth floor of a tenement building. The husband of the lady convert was not a convert and coming home one day to find his wife praying with Polly he became very upset and threatened to kick Polly out if she did not stop praying. She refused sot he began to carry her down the stairs cursing all the time. But by the time they got to the bottom the man was crying out for mercy and soon was receiving Jesus into his heart. 25 Polly remained in love with Smith and despite efforts of the Salvation Army to break her free of Smith they failed. Polly quit the Salvation Army and returned to Bradford. She would remain a friend of the Salvation Army.
At the age of twenty-three Smith married Polly (who was twenty-two). Smith later spoke of her as…
“She became a great help to me in my spiritual life. She was always such an inspiration to holiness. She saw how ignorant I was, and immediately began to teach me to read properly and to write; unfortunately, she never taught me to spell.”26
As we look at many of the heroes of faith we see that typically one spouse was on fire and the other either supported or opposed the one. We are called to be one in Christ and one for Christ. One partner may have a greater public call, but together they must run in the same direction and share the same vision. In choosing a mate, we must learn the importance of finding one who is found on fire in Christ and one who will walk in unity with us as we fulfill the purpose of heaven. It is so important for a home to see true unity. As we look at the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they walk in complete unity. They walk humbly preferring the other. Each serves the other for the divine purpose. We are to look at the relationship of Christ and His church. We are to walk as one. Not as two individuals walking in different directions even if they are Christians. But one. We must walk in the same direction and be of the same heart as Jesus.
In the early days of marriage Smith let his wife evangelize while he worked as a plumber. Here he became very busy and prospered in his work. The result was he became more focused on the job and less on the Lord.
“All lack of faith is due to not feeding on God’s Word. You need it every day.”27
“If you are in the same place today as you were yesterday, you are a backslidder.”28
We must walk with a now faith which comes from a now relationship. It is not about how on fire you were yesterday or the day before. What are you like today. We must be hungry and desperate for God TODAY. We must seek after Him in the Word and prayer today. As believers, you became a Christian not because of the denomination you were born into, or what church you have membership of, but through a living relationship with Jesus. We are called to a now relationship with Him. Smith later said…
“The future is not what you are going to be tomorrow. The future is what you are today.”29
During this testing time, Polly never complained but keep focused on serving the Lord. She walked before Smith with a loving and right heart. She did not nag or complain, but despite the embarrassment if must have been to her as she was active in ministry while her husband was off somewhere else, she remained constant. We must learn the importance of focusing our eyes on Jesus. The Lord would break Smith and he would learn through all of it. Again, Smith would later say…
“You can never pray ‘the prayer of faith’ if you look at the person who is needing it; there is only one place to look, and that is at Jesus.” 30
Too often the situation holds our attention even while we pray. We must fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfector of our faith and not the problem or situation.
That winter was a severe one in Bradford and Smith was consumed with work. When we are backslidden, we know it and as the Spirit convicts us we so often fight back by attacking those around. All the while, Polly was growing hotter for the Lord which did not please Smith. The devil was pushing things towards a showdown and one came. One-night Polly was later than usually getting home. Smith who had a temper issue got really mad and when she came in he explained that he was the master. Her response was, “I know that you are my husband, but Christ is my Master.”31 When we are backslidden, the truth is the last we want to hear. Smith forced her outside and locked the door. However, Polly went around to the back and found that door unlocked so came in. She began to laugh until Smith was forced to laugh with her. She was wooing her husband back to the Lord.
This episode was a major turning point the life of Smith. A man whose humble beginnings of picking turnips would soon be touching the nations of the world. But the Lord was preparing the vessel. Smith realized after this event that his behavior was unbecoming a minister and child of God. So, he set himself aside for ten days, crying out and seeking heaven. “He faced up to the cross until he began to understand what Paul meant in Galatians 2: 20.”31 Smith would be totally transformed and all noticed it. We must come to a place of brokenness where we recognize who we truly are and how we need Him. Too often, we live our lives as Christians in our own power, calling on Him only when we need Him. Our lives must be wrecked by the love of God. Smith had to overcome the love of his work and money which had stolen the throne of his affection. A place that belonged to the Lord and the Lord alone.
“Out of the emptiness, brokenness and surrender of our lives, God can bring forth all His glories through us, and to others.”32
A powerful message Smith preached came out of the lessons learned in these difficult times…
“Beloved, if you read the Scripture you will never find anything about the easy times. All the glories come out of the hard times. And if you are really reconstructed it will be in a hard time, it won’t be in a singing meeting, but at a time when you think all things are dried up, when you think there is no hope for you, and you have passed everything, then that is the time that God makes the man, when tried by fire, that God purges you, takes the dross away, and brings forth the pure gold. Only melted gold is minted. Only moistened clay receives the mold. Only softened wax receives the seal. Only broken, contrite hearts receive the mark, as the Potter turns us on His wheel, shaped and burnt to take and keep the heavenly mold, the stamp of God’s pure gold.”33
We also learn a valuable lesson on how Polly through remaining stable and on fire for God was able to save Smith from going shipwreck.
The Healing Ministry
Smith’s work as a plumber required that one day a week he had to go to Leeds to purchase supplies. During one of these visits he found a place where a divine healing meeting was going on. Smith was so moved that he would begin paying for sick in Bradford to travel to Leeds to get prayed for and to receive their healing. Initially he said nothing to Polly fearing she would not be in favor. However, she soon found out and seeing as she herself was in need of healing she went with him. She was prayed for and received total healing. From that time, they both were settled on the fact that Jesus was the Lord our healer.35
They had started a work in Bradford, renting a building on Bowling Street and called it the Bowland Street Mission. They placed a huge scroll on the wall that said, “I am the Lord that Healeth Thee.”36
A minster who flowed in the healing ministry came to the mission and was invited to dinner with the Wigglesworth. Here the man was asked by Polly what he thought about a man preaching divine healing while taking medicine. The man answered, “I should say that man did not fully trust the Lord.” 37
Of course, the man Polly was referring to was Smith. He had suffered from hemorrhoids since he was young and used salts daily for them. The man agreed to pray with Smith Wigglesworth for healing. Smith explained he had irregular bowl movements and it would be a couple of days before he would go again. When Smith did feel the need to go, he anointed himself with oil and as he would later testify, “God undertook. My bowels functioned that day like a baby’s. God had perfectly healed me. From that day forward my bowels functioned perfectly without the use of any means whatsoever. I have proved God who is enough.” 38
If we are to come to the place of testifying of how the Lord gave us the victory over the lion or the bear, we must start by learning to catch the small foxes that ruin the vine and getting them out of our lives. Smith had seen the salts as a natural thing and never as medicine. Smith and Polly took from that day a strong stand and never took medicine. We must understand their stand of faith plus medicine at that times was often barbaric.
Many considering Smith rough and unsympathic. He would punch people with cancer in the stomach. However, Smith explained that “I don’t hit people. I hit the devil. If they get in the way, I can’t help it. He was convinced all sickness was of the devil. He used to say, ‘You can’t deal gently with the devil, not comfort him; he likes comfort.”39
Hilbbert stated of Smith Wigglesworth, whom he knew as a friend…
“Wigglesworth was moved with compassion toward the sinner, the sick, the oppressed, the demon possessed, because he spent so much time in the presence of the Lord that he was like Him.”40
Recently I visited a group of scientists working with doctors treating cancer patients and patients with pneumonia from being incubated at hospital. The explain that doctors historically follow the rule book. They treat this treatment and if it fails they go to the next on the list. However, without making this complicated they explain how we are all different. How you respond to different medicates may be different. We need to treat people as individuals. Too often in ministry and as believers we follow a rule book. We pray over someone sick and if they don’t get healed then they are walking in fear etc. We treat everyone the same. We have to learn to throw the rule book out. Smith Wigglesworth treated people as unique. Sometimes he would spend all night in prayer seeking heaven for a healing. At times, he would lay hands on them and most of the time he just spoke the Word to them. It is the same with seeing souls won for Jesus. Do we approach the throne crying out for them as if it was us? Is it personal as if it was out life on the line? Does their salvation really matter to us? The early church when Peter was in prison got together and prayed. Today, unless you are important then we follow the rule book and maybe pray. We must learn to be moved by compassion.
Faith working with compassion produces miracles.
Going back to how Smith operated. In the story of the first healing, Peter said to the lame man outside the Temple…
“Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk…”
Acts 3: 6
“Please note the words, “such as I have give I thee.” We need to come to a place where we empty ourselves of ourselves and become filled with the life that is in Him. You bring nothing to the table that can heal the sick deliver the bound or set free anyone. Even what we preach, it may be extremely inspirational but unless we empty ourselves and allow Him to pour His life through us, that’s all our words will be, inspiration. We are called to speak words of life that release the resources of heaven and set free the captive.
Smith believed in living in the Word until the Word lived in him and as a result he was able to minister and preach that life. Smith said…
“I understand God by His Word. I cannot understand God by impressions or feelings. I cannot get to know God by sentiment. I can only know Him by His Word.”41 Our lives must be built upon the Word and not our experiences or the opinions of another. His Word must be absolute and final authority. Smith further stated that, “Faith in the Word is the root. Feelings are the fruit.” 42
Smith Wigglesworth never went more than fifteen minutes without reading the Word, no matter whose company he found himself.43 What commitment do we have to the Word. Can we go days without the Word and never notice? Or have we become so addicted to the Word and the life in the Word that we can’t bear to exist without it? Smith’s time in the Word and pray gave him a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He would go out lead by the Holy Spirit and wait for an hour, an hour and a half for the one person the Lord wanted him to minister to.
“Everybody has to have testings. If you believe in divine healing, you will surely be tested on the faith line. God cannot bring anyone into blessings and into full cooperation with Him except through testings and trials.”44 Consequently, Polly and Smith made a pledge together before the Lord, ‘From henceforth no medicine, no doctors, no drugs of any kind shall come into our house.”45 Such a stand is easy when all is well, but when tested the proof is seen.
Smith Wigglesworth was struck down with pain. It became so bad that Smith deemed it was time for him to go home. Based on this they had agreed to call a physician. The doctor determined that it was appendicitis but there was no hope left for Smith and believed Smith’s end as well was at hand. The doctor left and told Polly he would return later. After the doctor left two ladies came in and began to pray with Smith. They cast out the spirit of infirmity. Immediately, Smith became pain free so arose out of bed and went to work. The doctor returned while Smith was gone and express the opinion that they would bring Smith back a corpse. However, Smith did come home and lived a long time after this event.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Smith had Polly do all the preaching while he did all the other jobs. He did not feel called to preach and saw his lack of education as something that hindered him. Despite all her efforts Polly only got Smith to say a few words and never really preach.
During this time, a man came to their home asking for Smith to pray over his leg. He had cancer and his leg was like a board. Smith told the man to fast even days and seven nights and then his leg would be like a child’s. 46 The man followed Smith’s instructions and after four days Smith saw the man stop by again. He was not pulling himself up by the railings but walking.
“I am perfectly healed… I am going back to fast a further three days and nights but I thought I would let you know what God had already wrought.”47 The man then proceeded to ask Smith if he had heard about what was happening in Sunderland with Vicar Boddy. Smith decided to write to two people that got saved in Bradford who had moved to Sunderland. They wrote back that what was happening was in dangerous error and the people were speaking in tongues. Smith decided to pray about and finally went down. Initially Smith was disappointed and wanted to experience tongues. They explained he needed baptized in the Holy Spirit to which Smith argued he already was. They explained there was a deeper baptism. We must understand that when we got saved we received the Holy Spirit just like a glass full of water. We like the glass have the Holy Spirit. But now take the same glass and put it into a sink full of water, fully baptizing the glass in the water. Now, the water has the glass. This is what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is like. Smith decided to visit a Salvation Army church and explain how he came looking for tongues and was told that was a devil and to stay away from the Pentecostals.
Pastor Boddy held a waiting service where the presence of God fell mightily. But still no tongues. Smith had changed clothes and left his hotel key in the other clothes and seeing as it was late stayed with a man from India. They spent the night in prayer.
For four days Smith sought the gift but nothing so he decided to return home. But before he left he went to the pastor’s home and meet Mrs Boddy. She prayed over Smith for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For the first time Smith truly felt cleansed and filled with joy. The fire fell on Smith and he was changed. He said…
“I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw Him exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could no longer speak in English but began to praise Him in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew then, although I might have received anointing previously, that now, at last, I had received the real baptism in the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost.”48
When Smith got home his son George asked him if we had got the gift of speaking in tongues. Polly having heard as well that he was speaking in tongues said to him…
“I want to you to understand that I am as much baptized as you are and I don’t speak in tongues”49
We must understand that when we got saved we did receive the Holy Spirit just like a glass filled with water. But if you take that same glass filled with water and put it in a sink filled with water, baptizing it in the water, now the water has the glass. So, it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. We become consumed by Him.
She explained that he would preach on Sunday and she would see for herself what change had happened. So, on Sunday Smith climbed the three steps to the platform and began to preach in Isaiah 61:1-4. Smith heard the Lord speaking through him and his wife, Polly, became astonished and started crying, ‘That’s not my Smith, Lord, that’s not my Smith.”50
As they wrapped up the service the mission secretary stood up saying he wanted what Smith had. He tried to sit down but missed his seat. Soon elven people were on the floor, laughing with joy.51
This was to be the beginning of the outpouring at the Mission. Everyone began speaking in tongues and worshipping. Smith put a heavy importance on true worship. He felt that too often we try to worship and our worship is mechanical. He believed true worship comes from our spirit man. Worship should be an outflowing from the very depths of our being.52 Smith further stated, ‘When I catch the first breadth of the Spirit, I leave everything and everybody to be in His presence, to hear what He has to say to me.”53 We must get rid of the noise of life and develop a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so we, like Smith, can sense His presence and go hear what He has to say to us.
Shortly afterwards he was called to come to a factory that employed more than a thousand in Lancashire. They wanted to know about the baptism. Smith went and needless to say many got saved and baptized. Shortly after this event he was invited to a ton in Shropshire. Here they preached at a Methodist church and the fire fell. However, the town did not receive the speaking of tongues well, and began to persecute Smith. While Smith was at a grocery store, three women came under intense conviction and ended up getting saved. 54
Everywhere Smith went people started coming under great conviction. Some would curse him or try to attack him.
Smith then went to a town near Grantham, where a young man was dangerously ill. Smith went to Grantham and then had to ride bike nine more miles to make it to the house. When he arrived, it was too late as the boy was about to die. However, Smith, explained that God is never late and realizing the boy was beyond human help he went to pray. He prayed most of the night and then arose early to pray in the fields. He then returned to the boy’s house and asked them to air out his clothes because the Lord would raise him up and he would wear them.
Smith preached at the local church as it was Sunday morning and asked all to stand with him in faith for the boy. Afterwards Smith returned to pray for the boy. He told the parents to put the boy’s socks on. Then he asked them to leave the room and shut the door.
“I think it is a very important thing to have the door shut, when you have a case like this to deal with, for then you know you are able to just shut in with God.”55
Smith prayed and the power fell. The boy arose and got dressed. The whole, town heard about what happened and a revival broke out that day.
Full Time Ministry
Smith was becoming increasingly busy and the cold weather meant plumbers were in high demand. But Smith could not get to them and started losing his customers. Smith decided that he would do his last plumbing job for an old lady and would do it free as an offering to the Lord.
A friend had made a comment to him that: “All the people who say they live by faith seem to have their heels worn out, and their clothes are old and green.”56 Smith told the Lord he would obey but that if ever his heels became worn down or his clothes had holes he would return to plumbing. Smith never did return to plumbing and the Lord never allowed Smith to have his heels worn down or holes in his clothes.
Right off the bat, the challenge came as many people who owed them money had not paid and it would take a court action to get the money. But Smith trusted the Lord and soon a young man came with a gift of fifty pounds which was enough to cover his debts.
With him and Polly continued the ministry at Bowland while traveling as well. Smith bought the largest flag pole he could and placed it outside the Mission. It put up a flag that said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” 57 During this time the Lord was teaching Smith on faith…
“God moved me on to a place of increasing faith, causing me to see the Word of God was written to show us how to act on the principles of faith.”58
So, as Smith saw things in the Word he would do it and when he read about when you hold a feast invite the poor, maimed, the lame, etc. he felt compelled to invite all the needy to a banquet at the Mission. Many came and he provided them a first-class meal. He then had people who had been healed to share their testimonies. This went on for around an hour and a half. Many got healed and saved. 59
Smith would always end up preaching everywhere he went that not alone did the Lord forgive sin but He heals every disease.
Polly Goes Home
On January 1st while on a preaching trip, Polly suffered a heart attack and died. Smith gave instructions for his wife to be placed on the bed. When he got home he went up to the bedroom and shut the door. Smith then rebuked death and Polly opened her eyes and said:
“Why have you done this, Smith?’
‘Polly, I need you,’ he said
‘Smith my work is finished,’ she answered, ‘God want me.’
They talked for quite some time, then Wigglesworth said, ‘All right, I will let you go.”60
Someone later asked Smith what was the secret of his power and he answered:
“In a broken voice, and with tears slowly trickling down his face, he replied:
I am sorry you asked me that questions, but I will answer it. I am a broken-man. My wife, who meant everything to me, died eleven years ago. After the funeral, I went back and lay on her grave. I wanted to die there. But God spoke to me and told me to rise up and come away. I told him if he would give me a double portion of the Spirit- my wife’s and my own- I would go and preach the Gospel. God was gracious to me and answered my request. But I sail the high seas alone. I am a lonely man, and many a time all I can do is to weep and weep.”61
Smith would say, “out of our emptiness, brokenness and yieldedness of our lives, God can bring forth all His glories through us to others.”62
We all want the power but we are not willing to pay the price. Listen to these words of Smith:
“It is through the power of the Holy Ghost. You must not think these gifts will fall upon you like ripe cherries. There is a sense in which you have to pay the price for everything you get. We must be covetous for God’s best gifts, and say Amen to any preparation the Lord takes us through, in order that we may be humble, useable vessels through which He Himself can operate by means of the Spirit’s power.”63
Th call to step up to the plate and be a voice for Him requires we take up our cross daily and die. Until we die we are of no use to the Master. He seeks to display His glory through these frail earthen vessels. It is so important that we learn to hear His voice and respond according to the directions of the Holy Spirit when we face such times.
We must also understand that what we hold on to prevents the Father give to us. The devil loves to get us offended at the Lord. It would have been easy for Smith to have been offended and such offense would have opened the door to bitterness and shut down his ministry. Many of get stuck and some shipwrecked because we got offended at the Lord. We must learn to surrender and trust Him. We can’t always see the whole story and purpose of heaven. He can remove the sting of the situation from us if we will simply be obedient and go. With the Lord, there is always a divine go!
“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs only come out of great trials.”64
God honored Smith’s obedience and opened a new door. Never could this man whose humble beginnings picking turnips in the English Countryside have ever imagined the destiny God had for him.
“The man who is going through it with God to be used in healing must be a man of longsuffering.”65
Smith went through a lot of things and through it all as he trusted the Lord his hearted was tenderized. Smith said regarding the time in Leeds where he paid for people to travel to the healing service…
“I used to go to Leeds every week to a place where divine healing was taught. But I was very critical in my spirit and would judge the people so harshly. I did not know why so many people who taught divine healing wore glasses. I questioned, ‘Why do you wear glasses if you believe in divine healing?’ This stumbled me somewhat. Later I had to wear glasses to read my Bible, and I was often criticized or this.”
The Lord has a way of humbling you. It is easy to be judgment of people who are sick, but when you have gone through it, you develop great compassion and you see the truth behind the disease, the devil. You judgment of people stops, while you get angry at the enemy for doing such a thing.
Smith began traveling the world. When he went Smith was ready for the challenges presented to him and he would always preached salvation and healing. While in Sweden he was arrested for preaching healing to simply make money. However, there was no law against preaching so he was let go. However, he was not allowed to lay hands on people. During this time, he preaching to crowds of twenty plus thousand.66 Smith sought the Lord on how he could get around the law. Smith with government officials watching tole all who were sick to lay hands on themselves. Smith would say, “if there is a God, there’s a way.”68
Smith would often call the sickest person to come up on the platform. During one service, an older lady was brought up helped by two other ladies. The two friends struggled to hold the lady up. Smith told them to release her, and immediately the lady fell to the floor, the friends picked her up an again Smith told them to let her go and again the woman hit the ground with a thud. But Smith was persuaded that as he knew the Lord well enough and knew the will of the Father, the Lord would not fail. Well, the crowd did not hold the same opinion and started calling him a callous brute. But Smith once again told the friends to let her go. One can only imagine the horror of the crowd and their outrage. Reluctantly the ladies released their friend again and this time she remained standing but on the platform, was a tumor. The woman was healed of cancer. 69
In 1915, Smith joined the Pentecostal Missionary Union. Around 1920, he said to a lady that they “had a spiritual affinity.”70 The woman was offended and she and a friend filled a complaint of inappropriate behavior. The Union demanded an apology and Smith gave one. However, Mr. Cecil Polhill, who played a highly significant role in Pentecostalism 71 and the ministries of many famous people, did not feel Smith was truly repent. Smith was surprised by the lack of support from Polhill. Smith was told to resign and sign a letter on repentance. Smith did resign but refused to sign any letter. Polhill demanded:
That Smith “abstain for a prolonged season from participation in the Lord’s public work, and seek to retrieve your position before God and man, by a fairly long period of godly, quiet living, so showing works meet of repentance.”
“I think that Mr. Polhill has stepped over the boundary this time making things to appear as if I had committed fornication or adultery and I am innocent of those things. I have done and acted foolishly and God has forgiven me. This thing is settled in the spiritual way and after this at the church and with Mr. Polhill and he ought to of have seen things through.”72
Smith went on to write in another letter:
“…God will settle all. The good hand of God is upon me and I will live it all down. This week, God has rebuked the oppressor through his servant. I shall go forward, dear brother, and ask you to be careful that the Gospel is not hindered through you and ought at this time to do unto me as you would wish one to do unto you. Do not trouble to send anything for sign. I signed my letter to you, that (is) all.”73
Smith saw Jesus as head of the church and would not bow to a spirit of religion. He saw what happened as exaggerated and his treatment totally out of proportions. The enemy loves to sue people to stop you and kill your momentum. These men seek to become the mediator between God and man. They claim they are in it for your best, but as Jesus said in Matthew 23, verse 2, that the Pharisees placed themselves in the seat of Moses. God didn’t. The religious spirit seeks to demand submission to authority, yet the call is that we submit to one another. They place themselves on a pedestal and demand obedience. They remove your ability to hear from heaven and obey. They put you on the bench and claim you need restoring. Such men would have put Peter on the bench for restoration such that he would have missed the day of Pentecost. Leaders need to walk humbly and in fear.
We must appreciate the power of Polhill and his significance. He could have ended Smith’s ministry, but Smith trusted more in the Lord and the Lord showed Smith to be right. Smith’s ministry did not go into decline or lose any of its power. Instead his ministry grew. Smith refused to bend to religious politics and made the brave decision to obey the Lord over a man, even to his own hurt. We too must learn to walk in obedience to the Lord and maintain a submissive heart to men but now when to respectfully say no to them.
After this Smith would travel with his daughter Alice and sometimes Alice and her husband James Salter. Smith did several world tours.
In 1922, Smith made his first visits to New Zealand and Australia. In Australia, he immediately saw great miracles happen as people of types of illness got healed.74
In Melbourne a letter was writing regarding his meeting there:
“We had three glorious weeks of triumphant victory in the Melbourne Meetings. Fully one thousand souls were converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, and many scores were healed. In fact, the testimonies of those healed are still continuing to come in.”75
Smith returned to Australia in 1927
Smith had also gone to Europe and in 1920 went to Switzerland and Sweden. In Switzerland, they declared they had an “open heaven.”76
While in Switzerland a woman came forth with cancer on her nose. Smith had her come up front and had everyone look at her. He then said how she would return the next night to tell what the Lord had done for her. He then prayed over her. The lady did indeed return the next night and her cancer was gone. Another lady with some terrible disease on her face had the same thing happened and returned with a face radiant and covered in new skin. 77
Smith not alone believed in divine healing he also believed in walking in divine health. While in Switzerland in the city of Neuchatelm, a dentist, Dr. Emil Lanz came to the meeting to prove Smith was fake. He went up and asked Smith to open his mouth with the goal of showing that Smith’s teeth were false. The dentist however was amazed to find that Smith had perfect teeth. Dr. Lanz was converted and trusted in the Lord. 78
However, while in Switzerland, Smith was arrested twice. He was told he could go, but Smith, being Smith refused until every officer in the prayed. 79
In Stockholm Sweden, the crowds that came were so large they could not fit into the building.
Later Year Challenges
In his later years, Smith was challenged with three physical tests. The first was kidney stones. He had an X-ray done which showed the stones in an advanced stage and that he needed surgery. Smith stated that no knife would go near his body. He trusted that God made his body and so God could heal it. The doctor responded that if God did heal Smith, then he wanted to know about. Well, Smith experienced worse pain over the following days. However, the Lord delivered Smith of one of the stones and Smith sent a letter to the doctor telling him so. He showed the doctor the stone who could not believe he passed stones so big and that he was able to dance and jump around with them.80
Another time he was traveling to the Isle of Man. It was a three-hour rail journey to get to a ferry to cross the sea to the Isle. When he arrived, a relative met him and on seeing him insisted he go to bed. He was in terrible pain and passing a lot of blood. However, Smith went to the service and prayed for people’s healing. He then went to Switzerland and saw people healed. Then he went to America and filled large halls. As soon as he finished the service he would go to bed in agony. His son-in-law, James Salter wrote:
“Living with him, sharing his bedroom as we frequently did during those years, we marveled at the unquenched zeal in his fiery preaching and his compassionate ministry to the sick. I do not remember his ever absenting himself from any meeting during the period, although there were times when he had to leave the preaching to others. Knowing him as perhaps no other man did, being together under the most intimate conditions, sharing mutual secrets, having every opportunity to weigh and assess him physically and spiritually, one cannot find the answer to the struggle of those days and years in the iron constitution and will of steel, both of which he possessed; for I have seen those things break down under lesser tests. He did not just bear those agonies; he made them serve the purpose of God and gloried in and over them. He had in a glass bottle in which he kept many of the stones he had passed, and finally there were some hundreds of them. After a test of six years he emerged with his fire-tried in his God…Throughout the period of his trial, his confidence was expressed in the words f Job: ‘But he knoweth the way I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his ways have I kept and not declined.”81
In 1937, Smith toured Africa and declared it was his most challenging tour. From the time, he boarded the boat he was in pain. He suffered sciatica which locked his legs and made it extremely painful for him to walk. Smith would reveal to James Salter that he had ruptured himself. Smith had been known to jump off of the platforms during his services even in his late seventies. Smith never acted like a man with a rupture.82
During the Fall of 1944, Smith went through a third time of physical testing. He returned home one day with his face twisted in pain. While Smith smiled he was able to talk properly. He was at the time eight-five. James Salter called a doctor and Smith who was so ill demanded that he be left alone. The doctor believed Smith would go home at any time. Smith became shaky on his feet and had two bad falls. Over the winter he was cared for, but in the new Year the Lord touched him and he started going about his business as usual. He had made a full recovery. 83
The Real Smith Wigglesworth
When you talk about Smith Wigglesworth people talk about the giant of faith but few talk about what was he like as a person. Well. Smith was a simple man who loved to go into the British countryside and enjoy the woods, violets, primroses, bluebells and heather. He loved to walk and then listen to the birds singing. James Salter said of him, “Smith Wigglesworth raised his arms in his characteristic way, threw back his shoulders, and began to breathe in deeply as he exclaimed ‘This is wine, this is health, this is life!” He felt the sound of the running water in the rivers was like a soothing song. 84 Smith liked to hike and climb the local mountains of Scotland and North Wales. 85
Smith never missed an opportunity to share the Gospel. Whether he was on a walk, climbing a mountain, or in a revival meeting. He described the falls of Nigari and Trummelbach in Switzerland as “’Like that, my God, like that in me!” His reference was too the rivers of living water flowing out. 86
Smith learned to be ‘relaxed that he was alive to every opportunity that presented itself. He learned the secret of Isaiah 26:3: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”87
Smith also hated the spirit of religion and religious politics. Speaking at a Convention once he said…
“The Christian Church has failed to make an impact upon the world as it should have because of man-centered endeavors. Smith Wiggleworth scorned this very thing, and was open in his condemnation of it. He fully ascribed to Colossians 1: 17-19’
“And He (Jesus) is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the First-born from the dead; that in all thing he might have the preeminence.” 88
He could have been very wealthy but refused to be caught by money or things. I believe he learned his lesson from his early years where he got consumed in work and backslide. 89 When in America, if the church held more than one love offering for him he would usually refuse unless he felt lead to give something to some missions. 90
“When Wigglesworth learned to give he was released from bondage. He moved from this world’s economy to God’s economy.” 91
He was a man of one book, the Bible. He refused to allow anything else in his home as he felt it defiled. Smith believed “that if you did not have a hunger for righteousness as revealed in God’s Word, you were not in the place God wanted you to be. You needed an insatiable appetite for the Scripture of truth, he thought, or otherwise you missed God’s plan.” 92
Regarding, newspapers, Smith commented, “if I read the newspaper I come out dirtier than I went in. If I read my Bible, I come out cleaner than I went in, and I like being clean.”93
Smith believed in a “now” relationship with the Lord God. He spent quality time with the Lord to know the Father’s heart. “He knew what God was about to do, and he was always there at the right time when God did it.” Such a “now” relationship called for holiness, and Smith sought to live a holy life and was determined to settle for nothing less. 94
Smith was a straight talked that could easily and often did offend people. He believed not just in reading and hearing the Word, but doing it. If he saw it in the Word he did it. The Lord had graced him with a great singing voice and Smith loved to sing, because he loved to worship. He believed:
“No man enjoys more the riches of divine grace and performs the Lord’s will to a higher degree than the man who walks with God in continuous worship.”95
Smith indeed went through a lot in life, but never bowed down to the circumstances or compromised his faith. He was not moved by what he felt but by what he believed. In fact, he started every day as he explained:
“I jump out of bed and dance before the Lord for ten to twelve minutes…telling God how great He is.” 96 Smith further added… “You must come to see how wonderful you are in God and how helpless you are in yourself.” 97
Smith because of his time spent in the Word and prayer understood who he truly was in Christ.
“Voice your position in God and you will be surrounded by all the resources of God in the time of trial.” 98
Smith saw great power and revivals in his ministry, but he said he had three visions, of which two had come to pass. The final one was regarding the final move of God and the greatest revival ever. He felt what they experienced was nothing compared to what was coming. 99
Pentecostalism was basically until around 1948 considered a fringe movement and cult. However, it failed to go away, but rather grew in numbers and authority in the 20th century. During the time, the Lord raised up new voices, including David Du Plesis, a man who met Smith Wigglesworth back in 1936 in South Africa. David said that Smith warned him that “absolute obedience at all cost will be the price for having a share in the greatest wave of revival that ever has been known in history. 100
Back in 1936, David was the secretary to the largest Pentecostal organization in South Africa. It was started by twoDoweyites, who had come to know the baptism in the Holy Spirit, John Lake and Tom Hezmalhalch. David arranged all of Smith’s meetings in South Africa. When he came to Johannesburg, Smith stayed in the home of David and his wife. Early one morning, Smith awoke and demanded his son-in-law come immediately. He saw David and told him to come at once. Smith prophesied over David that the Lord was sending him out. Smith, then told how he had three visions. Between 2am and 4 that morning the Lord had spoken to Smith regarding a final great move that was coming:
“There is a revival coming that at present the world knows nothing about. It will come through the churches. It will come in a fresh way. When you see what God does in this revival, you will have to admit that all you have seen previously is a mere nothing in comparison with what is to come. It will eclipse anything that has been known in history. Empty churches, empty cathedrals will be packed again with worshippers. Buildings will not be able to accommodate the multitudes. Then you will see fields of people worshipping and praising together. The Lord intends to use you in this revival. For you have been in Jerusalem long enough. The Lord will send you to the uttermost parts of the earth. If you are faithful and humble, the Lord will use you and if you remain faithful and humble, you will see the greatest events in Church history.”101
This revival would “overrun all boundaries, national and denominational.”102
The Upward Call
Oral Roberts said of Smith Wigglesworth:
“that he and his fellow evangelists owe Wigglesworth a debt beyond calculation.” 103
In February,1923, a young boy and his mother went to a mission hall in Wakefield Yorkshire. His mother got saved that night. The husband was very upset and refused to allow his family to go back, but they did continue to attend the mission. Near Easter, the boy took ill with pneumonia, which became double pneumonia. The boy went into a deep coma and was expected to die. That Easter, they doctor declared the boy had less than a week to live, so the father went to the mission to ask for prayer. The pastor was a friend of Smith. He came and prayed over the boy and cutting the story short the boy was healed. Shortly, afterwards they would meet Smith, who lived about twenty miles from them and told he what had happened. The family became close friends of Smith Wigglesworth. 104
In 1947, Smith got a lot of requests to minister worldwide. The boy, Albert was now a young man and meet with Smith for the last time. Smith had tears in his eyes and said:
“When you are you going to move into a realm that you have not touched and get going for God?’ He then went on, ‘I am an old man, eighty-seven years of age. I may not look it; I certainly don’t feel it. But you cannot argue with the birth certificate…Today in my mail I had an invitation to Australia, one to India and Ceylon, and one to America. People have their eyes on me.” Then he sobbed as if his heart world break. ‘Poor Wigglesworth,’ he wept. ‘What a failure to think that people have their eyes on me. God will never give His glory to another; He will take them from the scene.”105
Two days later Albert’s pastor, Mr. Richardson went home to be with the Lord. His funeral service was set up to be one week after Albert’s meeting with Smith. Albert and his three brothers were to be pall bearers. James Salter was to conduct the service and Smith was to be in attendance.
Smith arrived looking more like sixty than eighty and was met by Albert’s father. Smith asked the father about the daughter who was very ill and had been prayed for by Smith. Smith was expecting to hear that the girl had made a full recovery, but instead the father explained, “She is a little better a bit easier; her pains have not been quite so bad during the past few days.” Smith was disappointed by the answer and let out a deep yet compassionate sigh. 106
Smith then stumbled forward and the father put out his arm and caught him. The father lowered him to the ground. Smith Wigglesworth was gone. James Salter announced to the people, “I have to announce that my father-in-law, Smith Wigglesworth, has just passed away.”107
He went home to be with the Lord on March 12th, 1947.
- Liardon, Roberts. “Smith Wigglesworth: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings.” Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA, 1996, pages 477-476
- Frodham, Stanely Howard. “Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.” Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO. 1966. \
- Ibid loc 99
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals: Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa, OK. 1996. Page 198
- Frodham, Stanely Howard. “Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.” Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO. 1966.loc 13
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals: Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa, OK. 1996. Page 198
- Frodham, Stanely Howard. “Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.” Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO. 1966.loc 127
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals: Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa, OK. 1996. Page 199
- Frodham, Stanely Howard. “Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.” Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO. 1966.loc 141
- Ibid loc 155
- Gods Generals page 200
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 155
- Hibbert, Albert. “Smith Wigglesworth: The Secret of his power.” Harrison House, Tulsa Ok. 1982. Loc 134
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 169
- 18 God’s Generals page 201
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 180
- Ibid loc 193
- Ibid 220
- Yeager, Michael. “Life Changing Quotes of Smith Wiggleworth.” 2016. Loc 682
- Ibid 1328
- Ibid 1365
- Ibid 130
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 248
- Stormont, George. “Smith Wigglesworth: A man who walked with God.” Harrison House, Tulsa OK. 1989 page 62
- Yeager loc 1105
- Yeager loc 1415
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 261
- God’s Generals p 204
- Smith Wigglesworth loca 275
- Ibid 289
- Hibbert, Albert, loc 118
- Ibid 343
- Ibid 254
- Ibid 240
- Smith Wigglesworth 435
- Ibid 500
- Ibid 543
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 566
- Ibid 582
- Hibbert 602
- Ibid 548
- Smith Wiglesworth loc 610
- Ibid 639
- Ibid 668
- Ibid 682
- Ibid 697
- Hibbert 201
- Stormont, page 66
- Yeager loc 1592
- Ibid 1387
- Ibid 1239
- Ibid 1431
- Smith Wigglesworth loc 397
- Hibbert 843
- Hibbert 858
- Hibbert 432
- God’s Generals. Page 220
- Wigglesworth to T. H. Mundell, October 21, 1920 Letter
- Wigglesworth to Polhill Letters, October 21, 1920 Wigglesworth file.
- Smith Wigglesworth 1106
- Ibid 1147
- Ibid 1275
- Ibid 1300
- Ibid 1328
- Ibid 1768
- Ibid 1797
- Ibid 1811
- Ibid 1825
- Ibid 1842
- Ibid 1854
- Ibid 1883
- Hibbert 462
- Ibid loc 134
- Ibid 149
- Man Who Walked with God p 26
- Ibid p 37
- Ibid p 36
- Ibid 57
- Ibid page 80
- Yeager loc 318
- A Man who walked with God page 121
- Liardon, Roberts. “The Smith Wiggleswoth Prophecy and the Greatest Revival of All Time.” Wilmington Group Publishers. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 2005, page 85
- Ibid 87
- A Man who walked with God. Page 121
- Ibid 16
- Ibid 29
- Ibid 74
- God’s Generals. Page 223
- Hibbert loc 74